Rugby, Italy beats Scotland and breaks 11 years of drought at the Olimpico

ROME – The final whistle arrives at 5.04pm, 82.21 minutes of a very intense match. At that moment a wall made up of 4,011 bricks falls, sorry: 4,011 days ago. This is how long the Azzurri’s absence in home matches of the Six Nations lasted, given that the last victory in Rome came on 16 March 2013 once morest Ireland. Eleven years without giving joy to the fans at the Olimpico.

Sporadic away victories – Edinburgh 2015 and Cardiff 2022 – had their impact, but the lack of success at home was also heavy, very heavy. Well, now it’s over: Italy 31 Scotland 29, following a first half that ended 22-16 for the guests. Who so far had shown excellent rugby in this tournament, but were progressively silenced by a strong, very determined, disciplined XV, brilliant when needed but above all exceptional in defense (210 tackles scored). And then 55 thousand spectators – including Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who then went down to celebrate in the changing rooms – were able to rejoice, while the other 15 thousand, who came from the North of Great Britain, had no choice but to recognize the merits of their opponents.

The guests took the lead in the first half

Only at the start of the match had Scotland been superior, finding a strong try from Zander Fagerson and another, at the end of an insistent action from the front, scored by Steyn. After 12 minutes 3-14 for the visiting team, but the Azzurri had an initial reaction, realized in a goal by Brex (later voted man of the match) ready to collect an intelligent kick from Page-Relo between three Scots. They were still suffering from a place by the champion Russell and a try by Schoeman, just before the half hour mark, the result of a collective push that might have caused concern and even a bit of discouragement. Instead, Italy maintained their concentration, showing off some individual players (Menoncello and Niccolò Cannone, in addition to the aforementioned Brex) and fighting with determination even at high tempos. Two placings, from Garbisi and the positive Page-Relo, brought our team within six.

Debut goal for the son of art Lynagh

A great end to the first half to fuel hopes strengthened in the 4th minute of the second half by the goal of debutant Louis Lynagh (father Michael, world champion with Australia, and mother Isabella, from Treviso): this time the true five-a-side football was Garbisi and the blond wing midfielder didn’t have to be asked to wait. Garbisi himself hit the post once more, following the one that left us at 13-13 in France in the last round, but Italy was now close. He is ferocious on the attacks of the men (today) in white, who in the end will spend 50 minutes without scoring. Great credit for the overtaking, in the 57th minute, went to the young n. 8 Ross Vintcent, capable of flying like a chip in the defense, creating the conditions for Varney’s try. The Azzurri put terrible pressure on coach Greg Townsend’s men (see for everyone a Capuozzo-Lynagh double tackle on Van der Merwe, the tournament’s very powerful “metaman”) and also improved a lot in the scrum. In the 33rd minute Garbisi capitalized on the opponents’ difficulties with a kick.

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But there was still more to suffer. From 31-22 to 31-29 for Skinner’s try, converted by Russell, two minutes from the end. All that remained was to get into the trenches, defend an endless series of 24 phases with the ball in the hands of the guests. Until minute 82.21, the whistle from the Australian referee Gardner and the tears of the protagonists of a success that had been awaited for a long time.

#Rugby #Italy #beats #Scotland #breaks #years #drought #Olimpico
2024-03-18 10:46:08

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